F-M students attend opioid awareness program

Fayetteville-Manlius School District staff members are partnering with community organizations to educate students about the dangers of opioid abuse.

In June, Eagle Hill and Wellwood middle school eighth-graders participated in “See Something, Say Something, Save Someone,” a workshop that through education and interactive activities provides students with more information about the dangers of opiates, including heroin.

For the first time in U.S. history, a leading cause of death — vehicle crashes — has been surpassed by opioid overdoses, according to the National Safety Council’s 2019 report on preventable deaths. Americans now have a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, according to the council’s analysis of 2017 data on accidental death. The probability of dying in a motor vehicle crash is 1 in 103.

“Drug abuse is not just happening in abandoned buildings and dark alleys,” Manlius Fire Department Lt. Chris Halliday told Eagle Hill students. “It’s happening right here inside homes and bedrooms that look just like yours.”

During the two-hour program, which was held at Eagle Hill on June 5 and Wellwood the following week, students rotated through sessions led by Manlius Fire Dept’s first responders, Prevention Network representatives, F-M students and staff members, and Mark Frank, a community member whose family has been impacted by substance abuse.

Students attended presentations, participated in team-building exercises and observed emergency medical technicians respond to a mock overdose.

“This is the closest to an overdose we ever want you to be,” Lt. Halliday said during the simulation.

During the mock scene, Lt. Halliday warned students about synthetic opioids such as fetanyl and carfentanil, which he said are very potent and often added to heroin. He discussed how the opiate antidote Narcan (or naloxone) is not a “magical elixir,” especially when a drug is laced with additives.

“Fentanyl and carfentanil are stronger and more addictive than heroin itself,” Lt. Halliday told students. “It’s a one and done. One injection and you’ll become a hooked user for life.”

Students also discussed with a group of Fayetteville-Manlius High School students some healthy alternatives to managing life’s stressors and the importance of eliminating mental illness stigma.

The program compliments a portion of F-M’s eighth grade health curriculum that focuses on substance abuse prevention.

This is an image of Mark Frank talking to students

Mark Frank shares a story about his son and former F-M student, Adam, with Wellwood Middle School eighth-graders.

Emergency first responders talk to Wellwood students

Town of Manlius Police Sergeant John Paul (left) talks with Wellwood Middle School eighth-graders about the dangers of opioid abuse.

This is an image of first responders performing a simulated scene

In front of an Eagle Hill Middle School student audience, Manlius Fire Department first response members attempt to save a life during a simulated overdose scene.

This is an image of students performing the raccoon circle activity

Eagle Hill students participate in activities that visually and physically demonstrate the impact that drug abuse can have on a community. 

This is an image of three students working together

This is an image of students participating in an outdoor activity

This is an image of high school students talking with middle school students

On June 5, Fayetteville-Manlius High School students visited Eagle Hill Middle School where they spent the morning chatting with eighth-graders about high school life.